To lose control or use of your body would be a terrible feeling.  That feeling of being trapped, the complete loss of influence over what is central to us being us, that would be one of the most incredible parts of life to overcome.  Now there is another story about that struggle to find yourself at home in a body which has suddenly become foreign.

Starting this April 29th, now available on DVD from Miramax Film and Pathe Renn Productions comes one of the most inspiring and compelling films in the last few years.  From the writer of The Pianist and visionary directory Julian Schnabel flows The Diving Bell And The Butterfly.  Bring home this modern masterpiece today and relive one of the best foreign films of 2007.

The Diving Bell And The Butterfly is the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, a famous fashion editor who works and makes his life in Paris.  Yet we do not know this in the beginning.  All the audience knows is that there is a man lying in a hospital bed that can move only one eye and cannot speak at all.  And everyone is speaking French.  The entire film is seen through the single eye of Jean-Do Bauby.  We see the memories of the wife and children whom he left and the mistress who ended up leaving him.  We see his trips of imagination and shot after shot of him as a diver in a diving bell, floating in the middle of the deepest part of the ocean, unable to move or feel or do anything at all.  Mr. Bauby learns to communicate by having people read through the alphabet until he blinks at the next letter he wants to say.  After he stops pitying himself, he decides to write a book about his experiences after the massive stroke he had, creating something called “locked-in syndrome.”  He does write that book using just one eye and a lucid mind.  This film is based off of that memoir.

The special features included on this award winning DVD are “Submerged,” a featurette about the making of the film, a featurette looking into the cinematic vision the director was searching for, an interview of Julian Schnabel by Charlie Rose, and an optional audio commentary provided by the director, Julian Schnabel.

This is the most powerful and inspiring film in recent cinematic history.  The human story is a compelling one guided along by magnificent acting.  The cinematography and entire way the film was made will change the way artistic films are made.  The greatest strength Julian Schnabel, who surprisingly looks much like a biker you would never want to mess with, brings to this film is his use of a voiceover matched with concrete images to convey the nuances of what, how and why Jean-Do is feeling.  This is the best French film yet this decade.

The Diving Bell And The Butterfly is a magnificent look at the powers of imagination and the overwhelming courage of the human spirit.

This DVD is available at Amazon.com.

Nathaniel Jonet

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